criminals have devised a plan of stealing cash from unsuspecting individuals, churches, parastatals and other institutions by offering to supply them subsidised maize meal, but will disappear immediately after receiving payments through mobile money or bank transfers.
Using the social media to advertise their activities, the criminals claim to be linked to GMB officials who can supply them any quantity of subsidised roller meal.
Subsidised roller meal used to cost $70 but the scheme ran its full course on July 31, and anyone being made to pay is destined to lose their money.
The number of people who have lost money to the fraudsters could not be established last night but national police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, confirmed receiving many reports of people that have lost money through the scam.
“The ZRP urges the public not to respond to WhatsApp, Facebook or other social media platform invitations for them to access mealie-meal at GMB depots countrywide. Of late, the ZRP has received reports of criminals who are approaching unsuspecting individuals, churches, parastatals and other institutions offering them mealie-meal at subsidised prices and then tell them to transact through Ecocash/RTGS,” he said.
Once the transactions go through, the recipients disappear and no mealie meal is delivered, said Asst Comm Nyathi.
The GMB has already appealed to the public to report to the police anyone claiming to be selling subsidised roller meal.
Police warned citizens to safeguard their accounts and approach service providers directly, but promised to take action against the unscrupulous syndicates.
The developments come after police recently arrested three suspected fraudsters on allegations of creating fictitious EcoCash messages, which they used as proof of payment for various goods.
A group of criminals was also targeting supermarkets, service stations and various businesses, using the same method.
The criminals created fictitious messages to convince the targeted victims to believe they would have sent money via EcoCash to their merchant code numbers.
Meanwhile, police are investigating an employee from Agribank on allegations of siphoning thousands of dollars from a bank account belonging to a local company, Riskev Holiday based in Milton Park, Harare.
Investigations carried out so far revealed that the employee, Kennedy Matimbura, allegedly transferred $11 000 from the company’s account into the AFM church bank account and when questioned, he revealed that it was for tithe.
After that money was transferred, the company officials later noticed that transactions of $83 000, $15 000 and $640 were siphoned from their bank account in unclear circumstances, prompting them to make a report at Milton Park police station who are investigating the case.
They are however keen to interview Matimbura in connection with the case, and the company officials have reportedly approached the bank seeking clarification.